Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Who Will Make a Run to Title?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Who Will Make a Run to Title?

Article excerpt

Their statistics suggest Woodland Hills vs. Central Catholic will feature plenty of running and not much passing.

History suggests the team that runs it with more success will win.

Woodland Hills (10-2) takes on Central Catholic (12-0) in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game Saturday, 2 p.m. at Heinz Field. Looking at past title games and breaking this matchup down to its simplest form, the key is which team will run better.

Despite the popularity of spread offenses and strong passing games these days, Class AAAA football title games have pretty much stayed grounded. Over the past 15 seasons of Class AAAA championships, the team with more yards rushing is 12-3.

Over the past 15 seasons, there have been 12 running backs who have rushed for 100 yards or more in the Class AAAA title game. Only three of them didn't play for the winning team.

Conversely, over the past eight seasons of Class AAAA championship games, the team with more yards passing is 4-4. And few teams have aired it out.

North Allegheny quarterback Mack Leftwich threw for 219 yards last season and led his team to a victory. But in the other 14 title games over the past 15 years, only two other teams have thrown for more than 150 yards.

"I think you're right on with the running theory," Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said. "But I would also add that the team that limits the big play usually does well, too."

Woodland Hills coach George Novak said, "I think it always comes down to who possesses the ball most and who runs it better."

The game might also hinge on what team can make a few big pass plays. But don't expect to see much passing, especially with the weather forecast calling for a cold and windy day.

Although Central Catholic quarterback J.J. Cosentino is a Florida State recruit, he averages only six passes a game and has thrown for only 655 yards. …

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